China today said an Indian drone had recently “intruded” into its airspace and crashed in the Sikkim sector, prompting it to lodge a diplomatic protest to India over the violation of China’s territorial sovereignty.
China’s Defence Ministry said that the Indian unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) crashed into the Chinese side of the border.
The Indian drone “intruded” into China’s airspace and crashed recently, and China’s border troops have conducted identification and verification over the vehicle, said Zhang Shuili, deputy head of the combat bureau of the Western Theatre Command’s joint staff department.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the country has lodged a diplomatic protest to India over the drone violating Chinese sovereignty.
He said the drone had crashed in the Sikkim section. Dokalam is located in the Sikkim section of the India, China border. However, there was no immediate response from the Indian Defence Ministry. The Chinese military’s western theatre command jurisdiction covers almost all of the 3488-km Line of Actual Control (LAC), including Tibet’s border region with India and the Ladakh region.
“India’s move has infringed upon China’s territorial sovereignty, and we are strongly dissatisfied with and opposed to this,” Zhang was quoted as saying by the state-run Xinhua news agency.
“We will fulfil our mission and responsibility and defend China’s national sovereignty and security resolutely,” he said.
The Chinese military’s claim came months after India and China were locked in a standoff in the Dokalam sector after the Chinese troops began constructing a road near the Bhutan tri-junction. The 73-day-long Dokalam standoff ended on August 28 after Chinese troops stopped building a key road close to India’s Chicken Neck corridor.
India had objected to the construction highlighting its security concerns. The road was being built by the Chinese troops in the area also claimed by Bhutan.
The military’s charge comes ahead of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to New Delhi to take part in the Russia-India-China (RIC) Foreign Ministers meeting to be held on December 11.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told media here yesterday that Wang will meet top Indian officials on its sidelines.
This will be the first visit by a top Chinese official to India after the Dokalam crisis and commencement of second five-year term after Chinese President Xi Jinping. It is expected to be followed by the 20th round of India-China boundary talks in New Delhi between Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, who are the designated Special Representatives.